EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. -- After 77 scoreless minutes, the Chicago Red Stars broke through. Marian Dalmy forwarded a great ball into the box. Lindsay Tarpley knocked it past Athletica goalkeeper Hope Solo and into the net for a 1-0 Red Stars lead.
St. Louis threw all they had at the Red Stars and more, but it was Chicago who stole the show... making the one goal stick.
"We had a great defensive performance," Red Stars head coach Emma Hayes said. "There was an awful lot of emotion coming into the game. I think we deserved to net the goal in the end."
Just before the end of the first half, Solo came up big for Athletica. Carli Lloyd blasted a shot at goal. Solo blocked it, sending it back into play. Tarpley headed the rebound back toward goal. Solo grabbed it keeping her net clean.
Saint Louis had nine shots in the first half, compared to four by Chicago. Melissa Tancredi and Angie Woznuk each threatened with two on goal apiece. But at halftime, the game remained scoreless.
A cheap shot on Athletica's Lori Chalupny led to a corner kick opportunity for St. Louis. Kerri Hanks sent the corner into the box in the 61st minute with Red Star keeper Caroline Jonsson easily grabbing the ball.
A yellow card was issued in the 90th minute to Chicago's Nikki Krzysik or a tackle just outside the box. A freekick attempt fell short for Athletica, Chicago held on for the win.
"We've gotta play a full 90 minutes," Chalupny said. "Our focused lapsed for one second and they scored."
For St. Louis, a showing of 5,008 fans was a great way to start the season. And although they gave up a 1-0 decision, Solo said they still played well.
"All of us are winners who push to win," Solo said. "You saw it in the final minutes when we pushed for the tying goal. You can't coach that." -- Goal.com